Redefining the Role of Accountants through Offshoring

Offshoring financial and accounting services to low-cost countries like the Philippines has redefined the role of accountants in Australia. This is what Adrian Batty of Deloitte Private told AccountantsDaily, the Sydney-based news portal for accountants.

According to Batty, offshoring has become a growing trend that gives Australian firms a competitive advantage. He added that the oversupply of accountants in Australia may be a result of “mismatch of skill sets” and professionals must adapt the proficiency of offshore accountants to remain relevant in the industry.

The Wrong Impression

However, not all firms are open to offshoring. According to accounting guru Rob Nixon, this may be caused by globalisation and a change in social behavior. “I think the concept got off to a bad start with telemarketing companies calling you at home and you could not understand what they are saying. It also got off to a bad start because the term ‘outsourcing’ was created and many accounting firms sent jobs offshore and because the person worked on the job was not working 100% for that firm there was a lot of re-work needed.”

How It Actually Works

Accountants spend most of their time on compliance when they should be focusing on value-adding tasks like advisory. This is where offshored accountants come into the picture. They take care of all your time-consuming, compliance-driven work so you can do more client-facing services like offering advice.

Also, contrary to what others think, offshoring gives you more control and security – not less. It’s just a shift of the process of information, but you still call the shots in the business. And confidentiality is secured since it is now a joint responsibility of your firm and your offshoring partner to protect your data and mitigate risk.

Finding the Right Partner

Finding the right service provider is a huge commitment. We can’t blame those who claim that they shun the idea of offshoring because of their previous experience which turned wrong. What we’re trying to say is not every service provider is the same. The right offshoring vendor should understand your business and help you achieve your goals by streamlining your workflow process. It should deliver significant cost savings and improve your efficiency. Bottomline is, they should be an asset more than a liability. Do a thorough research before committing to having them as your partner, and evaluate regularly after.

Why the Philippines?

Grant Thornton, the fifth largest accounting network in the world, states that the practice of offshoring is likely to expand in the region against this backdrop. It is already highly developed in one emerging Asian market – the Philippines, which is now rated among the top offshoring destinations in the world.

There is a large talent pool in the country, with certified public accountants (CPAs) whose salary is relatively inexpensive compared to that of western countries’. Just like what Nixon highlighted in the Accountants Benchmark Report, the Philippines clearly satisfies the three compelling reasons Australians outsource their work here: there is an abundance of labour, a labour force who are supremely qualified, and a lower cost structure.

The Outsourced Accountant supports Australian and New Zealand accounting firms by helping them understand and implement outsourcing solutions to help them become more proactive and truly add value to their clients. If you want to know more about outsourcing, call us at 1300 896 522 / 0800 452 853, and download our e-book.